A Christianity Today article suggests “Children may be the people most receptive to quiet, reflective spiritual formation.” The article takes a good look at what sounds a lot like the Montessori-based The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, but doesn’t name any specific program. What they found will be surprising to many from the program-driven children’s ministry set…. turns out kids are quite capable of benefiting from a quiet, contemplative spirituality. In other words, it turns out they don’t really need an activity-based video-enhanced highly stimulating environment in order to find God. Whoodathunkit?
Hat Tip for the CT article to Emergent-No, of all places, since I spotted the link on the Emergent-No aggregator, a new service by Justin Baeder & Co to aggregate Emergent-No and Slice of Laodicea so that everyone whose comments are censored or who are otherwise banned from posting on those sites can post comments on this site instead. Alan Hartung describes it as “Same content, different comments” and intends to post there. This is amusing, but I have to say I’m skeptical of the value of “dialogue” with those folks, based on past performance. Nevertheless, this whole thing is probably an early Christmas present for Bob Hyatt.
As suggested in a comment on Bob’s Blog, these folks do remind me of Marguerite Perrin, the psycho-christian in the recent episode of Trading Spouses. I saw the episode while flipping channels, and in true FOX fashion, a brief snippet was enough to drop your jaw and glue you incredulously to the tube for the rest of the hour. Not one of the things I’m proud of, but I succumbed.
Anyway, contrary to popular belief, emerging church people do not eat their young. You just can’t convince some people of stuff like that. I’ve been thinking about it lately, remembering the Sting song, Russians (okay, you youngsters that are considered “emerging generations” may have to just bear with us old fogies and click through to read the lyrics at the end of the link and Google half the words… you see, there was this thing called The Cold War…). So anyway, the reason I’ve been thinking about it all comes down to what was probably a heartfelt question, but one which came across with “a tone” during the panel discussion I took part in recently. The final question we took before the lunch break was from a lady in the back of the room whose face I couldn’t see due to the television-studio lighting. The question was, in essence, “What about the kids?” as in “Okay, sure, yeah, well, but what about the kids?” I fielded the question at face value, but I was asking myself later if there hadn’t been something behind it, if the questions wasn’t half accusation. I asked some folks who were there to be sure it wasn’t just me and they thought maybe it was intended to trip us up, as though this question would catch us on something.
So even if some people seem to think it’s a sign of intelligence deficit, we “emerging church people” love our children at least enough to make them teddy-bear pancakes. There, I said it. We’re not monsters. In case you’re wondering, what I said in response to the question began with the words, “I promise you, there’s nothing we struggled and wrestled with more….” I think this is pretty normal. The corollary for me broke through one day when it dawned on me, “If the old way of ‘doing church’ isn’t good enough for me, how could it be good enough for my kids?” In some fashion I haven’t fully apprehended, this marked the point of no return.
Update: after sleeping on this one, I awoke with another movie quote on the brain… another from Lawrence of Arabia, this one an exchange between Peter O’Tool’s Lawrence and Anthony Quinn’s Auda abu Tayi. Lawrence promises Auda he would leave Aqaba for Cairo and return in ten days with gold and with guns. In tow, he has two young boys following him, and the three of them will make the journey alone.
Auda: In ten days. You will cross Sinai?
Lawrence: Why not? Moses did.
Auda: And you will take the children?
Lawrence (his voice echoing as he strikes out across the desert): Moses did!
Auda (shouting after him): Moses was a prophet and beloved of God…
Prophet or not, it helps to be beloved of God… and I suggest that the children qualify.
great post. I haven’t had enough coffee to keep up with you, though. wow- anyway, thanks for addressing the kids. haven’t read the CT article yet, will soon. I like your question, “if it isn’t good enough for me, how could it be good enough for my kids?â€? Like all parents, i’m constantly amazed at how much my 6 year old “gets.” and then there’s all the stuff I learn from her…
An excellent barrage of thought this morning my friend. :)
ahh, yes. Christmas comes early :) It’s actually a fascinating little development, this new aggregator. I love how exercised those being aggregated have gotten, as well… I know we’re acting like kids, bring told “No- you can’t comment (I’ve now managed to get even my nom de plume banned from Slice)” and us saying fine… we’ll find a way. Very adolescent and very… cool, I think.
And man… that woman was wild. I have as hard a time believing that was real (not a put on for the cameras) as I do tearing myself away from watching it…
Sometimes the thoughts just flood in and you have to decide if they’re related or not… or if it matters! ;^)
Bob, that woman was somethin’ else. My favorite part was when she cast the cameraman out of her house in the name of Jesus. If I hadn’t been so incredulous at the whole thing, I’d have had time to wonder if I should laugh or cry.
As for “Slice of No” I think it’s funny that these people don’t understand the Internet well enough to think that they can just blacklist the comments. It’s an old (for the Internet) axiom that “the Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it.” This is yet another proof that the axiom holds. They’ll probably disable their syndication feeds, but even that can be overcome with some creative scripting.
Personally, I’ve just avoided getting bogged down in those sites… I just read the secondary accounts like yours to know when there’s something of interest to check out. It’s enough that someone is dialoguing (if you can call it that!) with the naysayers, it doesn’t have to be me ;^)
Taking my kids out of church was way harder than taking me out because they loved Kid’s Church (Sunday School). However, one of the books that has most influenced my thinking in this regard is Gordon Neufeld’s “Hold on to Your Kids – Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers.” Neufeld talks about how society has given in to the belief that children need peer socialization to develop properly. They don’t – they need adult socialization. The church has given into that belief too, largely separating out age groups with little contact between the generations. We ignore everybody’s kids except our own. Think of it, when you meet up with a family, how many times do you even say hello to the kids, and how many times do you just talk to the parents?
Children don’t need sunday school, kid’s church or any other age segregated actitivity to develop spiritually. They do need relationship (not just teaching) from adults whom they can look to in order to see how a Christ-life is lived out.